I think that travel is good for the soul. Whether it is the next town over or if you're fortunate to go across the country, it is good to displace yourself every so often. It interrupts the flow of things. It puts you in the shoes of a stranger, a visitor. You get to pretend than you're an anthropologist studying a culture that is less familiar than your own. Travel, when done well and done intentionally, can refresh and reset you.
A few years ago, I wrote this about a trip to Chicago:
So coming to the city is good for me. I don’t think that I could be an adequate minister if I was not reminded of how small I am, of how the world does not revolve around me, and of how unique the people of this world can be. It’s good to have those moments of feeling like the stranger because most everyone that I have met has felt like an outsider at one time or another. The city grants me a little more clarity with which to see her people.
And in my smallness and my strangeness, I am reminded of how big God is and yet how welcoming God is of strange specks like all of us. Whether it is a large city or somewhere else, we need those places to that immerse us in these ideas. I believe our world and our ministries will be better for it.
EA and I just got back from a long weekend trip to Portland, Oregon. EA spoke at a conference with her mom. I got to tag along and see a place that I have never seen. I love this. It helps that Portland is a unique and beautiful city. Like other places I have visited, the City of Roses served as an excellent teacher. It reminded me again that I am small and that the world is bigger than I normally think it is. It has given me fresh perspective or helped me to recall long-lost memories.
So for the next few days (save for Thursday's Weekly Lectionary entry), I'll be running a series on here called "Portlandia" in which I'll share some of my observations from Bridgetown and how it has shaded my thoughts on life and faith.